Court rules amaBhungane can publish Maharaj testimony from secret inquiry

2016-05-12 19:30
Mac Maharaj (Netwerk24)

Mac Maharaj (Netwerk24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - The High Court in Pretoria has struck down the National Prosecuting Authority's refusal to allow the amaBhungane investigative journalism centre to publish the record of testimony given by former presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj in a secret inquiry.

The court on Thursday dismissed the strike-down application and granted permission for section 28 of the records to be published.

"The section 28 inquiry's scripts can, by no stretch of imagination, be regarded as confidential under these circumstances where it has been in the public domain for at least 10 years," the court ruled.

"I agree that it will serve no purpose to remit the matter to the NDPP [National Director of Public Prosecutions], but it will be just and equitable for this court to substitute the decision of the NDPP."

In April this year, amaBhungane, which was the Mail & Guardian's centre of investigative journalism, relaunched as an independent centre for investigative journalism, distributing its stories more widely.

Maharaj and his wife Zarina testified in an inquiry in 2003 under section 28 of the National Prosecuting Authority Act. This meant that they were stripped of their right to remain silent, provided that proceedings were not made public or used for prosecution.

The former spin doctor had reportedly given his biographer access to his transcripts and extracts had been published in City Press.

In 2012, acting Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Nomgcobo Jiba decided that the public would not be allowed to know what Maharaj had said during the inquiry, Media24 Investigations reported at the time.

This was after Media24 Investigations and City Press asked for permission to publish the transcripts.

The investigation was reportedly into allegations of corruption involving transport tenders issued while Maharaj was minister, and payments from now convicted fraudster Schabir Shaik and French company Thales into accounts connected to the Maharaj couple. A Shaik-linked company and Thales won the tenders.

Media24 Investigations and City Press applied to the NDPP to publish details of the transcripts. The Mail & Guardian made a similar application.

Read more on:    mac maharaj  |  pretoria  |  media

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.